e-Disputes Need e-Resolution

Arbitration association announces new online portal for dispute resolution

New York  July 12, 2001  Supply chain professionals have a new resource for assessing the potential for value-chain disputes, preventing such disputes and quickly and fairly resolving those that do arise through a new Web portal announced today by the American Arbitration Association (AAA).

In addition to launching its new Dispute Risk Management (DRM) Portal, the AAA announced new B2B online procedures and a specialized B2B e-Commerce Panel of Neutrals.

With approximately $1.2 trillion spent in B2B e-commerce in 2000, and analysts projecting a market as large as $4.8 trillion by 2004, the AAA believes that business disputes are becoming inevitable, threatening to disrupt the continuity of the B2B value and supply chains.

The AAA reported in May that while a majority of Fortune 1000 companies are moving at least part of their supply chains online, only a minority of those firms have a plan in place to deal with the B2B disputes they expect to arise as they increase their e-business involvement.

The association said that its new portal, following on the heels of this year's B2B e-commerce protocol announced by the AAA's e-commerce group, was created to help the business community increase the integrity, fairness and effectiveness of the global online supply chain and strengthen the continuity of B2B e-commerce.

The portal provides subscribers with access to the B2B e-commerce DRM community, enabling them to share documents and insights with their peers, find specific DRM information, search directories and access an alternative dispute resolution library to assist in assessing, preventing and containing possible conflicts before they erupt.

It will also offer the general public an online process for submission of B2B e-commerce disputes; management of B2B e-commerce cases, including case management tools and services to resolve disputes through on-call mediation or online "documents-only" arbitration; as well as current events, announcements and information on B2B e-commerce dispute risk management.

"With more businesses moving their B2B value/supply chains online, companies need to ensure that they have a solid mechanism for dispute risk management," said William Slate II, president and CEO of the AAA. "The speed and integrity of continuous e-supply chains require new modes of prevention and containment."

Through the portal, the AAA e-commerce group will offer online claims and case management for B2B e-commerce disputes, combined with in-person processes administered by case managers. The e-commerce group will also offer advisory services to educate and help organizations implement ongoing B2B dispute resolution and management programs, including how to move claims online.

"The new portal meets a real business need," said Debi Miller-Moore, newly announced vice president for the e-commerce group. "This is the first in a series of services the AAA will offer to help companies assess, prevent, contain and resolve online B2B disputes. We plan further enhancements and additions to these services in upcoming quarters."